La poeta del piso de arriba
The original English-language edition was named a Junior Library Guild selection and a Patterson Prize for Books for Young People Honor Book, and was the recipient of a Skipping Stones Honor Award.
by Judith Ortiz Cofer
Illustrated by Oscar Ortiz
Spanish translation by Gabriela Baeza Ventura
Publication Date: May 31, 2014
Pages: 32 pages
Imprint: Piñata Books
- About the Book
- About the Author
- About the Illustrator
- About the Translator
- Educational Resources
Originally published as The Poet Upstairs, this award-winning ode to poetry is now available in a Spanish-language edition.
Juliana is too sick to go to school one cold, winter day. So she stays in bed and looks out her bedroom window. She watches as a tall lady in a red coat and hat carries her boxes of books and papers upstairs. Her mother has heard that the mysterious woman is a poet writing a book. Juliana loves books and can’t wait to meet the poet upstairs.
Juliana listens to the poet’s typewriter clicking and clacking all day long, while outside the snow falls and people rush by bundled up in their coats. She dreams of the tiny tropical island “sitting on the ocean like a green button on a blue dress,” the island home that her mother and the poet share. She dreams of red hibiscus flowers and beaches of white sand.
The next day, she receives an invitation from the poet to come upstairs. Together, they write a poem about a big river that leads to the sea. As they make pictures with words, the walls of the cold apartment become a beautiful vista of mountains, palm trees, birds and flowers. That special day, poetry takes Juliana from her cold and ordinary apartment to a sparkling island habitat.
Invoking Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos’ famous poem about the Loiza River, Ortiz Cofer’s lyrical text is combined with Oscar Ortiz’s breathtaking illustrations of the natural world and the animals that inhabit it. This inspiring picture book for children ages 5-9 demonstrates the power of the written word as Juliana learns that poetry can change the world.
Skipping Stones Honor Award
Honor Book, 2013 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People
“This tale models poetry…This is a story that encourages readers to use words to describe what they see around them. Ortiz’s illustrations are lush and bring the poet’s imaginative world to vivid life.”—School Library Journal
“This is a great journey of imagination. The author has opened up possibilities to poetry without overwhelming a young reader…The illustrations had a modernistic look and complimented the story…[The story] captured the essence of a child’s world.”—TheLatinoAuthor.com
“This illustrated short story exalts the evocative power of language and poetry through the unexpected friendship between a young girl and a female poet.”—Catholic Library World
JUDITH ORTIZ COFER, a poet, novelist, and essayist, is the author of numerous award winning books, including An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio (Orchid Books 1995, Penguin, 1997), recipient of the 1995 Pura Belpré Award, the ALA Best Books for Young Adults and the Horn Book/Fanfare Best Book of the Year List. Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood (Arte Público Press 1991) received a PEN citation, the Martha Albrand Award for non-fiction, and a Pushcart Prize for the essay “More Room.” She is the recipient of the 1999 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People for The Year of Our Revolution. Most recently, she has published a bilingual book for children, ¡A bailar! / Let’s Dance! (Piñata Books, 2011); Animal Jamboree: Latino Folktales /La fiesta de los animals: leyendas latinas (Piñata Books, 2012), a bilingual collection of Puerto Rican folktales for middle readers, and The Poet Upstairs (Piñata Books, 2012), an inspiring picture book that demonstrates how poetry can change the world. She was a long-time professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia before her death in 2016.
OSCAR ORTIZ was born in Manhattan, New York, USA in 1964. He started painting and selling his pieces back in 2002. Eventually he moved into selling prints and licensing his art all over the world, represented in part by Bridgeman Art Library and similar venues. Oscar’s paintings have graced calendars, CDs, magazines, posters and others. Organizations, like UNESCO, have used his images for several purposes. Among his most recent projects are: illustrating an award winning children book, The Poet Upstairs, by Judith Ortiz Cofer, published by Arte Público and released on November 30th, 2012. He also illustrated a text book for National Geographic Learning.
Each day, he drinks fresh brewed black coffee at 3 PM so as to stay rooted to his Puerto Rican upbringing. He is still dating his high school sweetheart after 28 years of marriage.
Learn more here.
GABRIELA BAEZA VENTURA is an associate professor of Spanish at the University of Houston. She has translated numerous children’s books, including Dalia’s Wondrous Hair / El cabello maravilloso de Dalia (Arte Público Press, 2014), There’s a Name for this Feeling: Stories / Hay un nombre para lo que siento: Cuentos (2014), Adelita and the Veggie Cousins / Adelita y las primas verduritas (2011) and Remembering Grandma / Recordando a Abuela (2003).
ATOS Interest Level: Lower Grades
Category: Picture Book
ATOS Spanish: 4.4
LEXILE SPANISH: 810L
Accelerated Reader Quiz #: 153979